Episode two of Hinamatsuri widens its focus from Hina and Nitta and introduces us to more of its cast. In doing so, we learn more about the two main characters’ lives and how they have changed since they first met each other. Although it doesn’t do much to establish a main plotline, this episode still delivers two enjoyable vignettes that are just as fun as the one before it.
This episode of Hinamatsuri focuses on one story in each half. The first introduces us to Anzu, another girl with mysterious powers who shows up in an egg to look for Hina. Unlike Hina, she doesn’t have a friendly yakuza there to help her acclimatise to life on earth, so she soon wreaks havoc on the town by engaging in shoplifting, dining and dashing, and many other petty crimes. She and Hina fight, but Anzu loses and offers to take back a piece of hair to their superiors to try and prove that Hina is dead. The two hang out as friends for the rest of the day, and later on Anzu tries to return to her home planet.
In the second segment, Nitta finds out that Hina’s presence have brought his suave, ladykilling ways to an end because they all think that he’s trying to spend more quality time with his daughter rather than fooling around with girls. In an effort to prove them wrong, Nitta finds himself neglecting Hina, and in the end she tries to find him and tell him that he wants to spend more time with her. The two of them, along with all of the people they’ve roped into their drama along the way, go to a hostess club and have the night of their lives.
Despite my worries that the first episode of Hinamatsuri would be nothing but a flash in the pan (it seemed too good to be true, considering it was tailor made for me), I’m pleased to say that this episode was just as enjoyable, if not more so, than the first. I really feel like we know Nitta and Hina by this point so it’s enough for me just to watch their antics for half an hour each week even if the plot doesn’t go anywhere particularly spectacular. The addition of a bunch of fun recurring cast members this time around was an added bonus. I really appreciate how many cool, interesting girls were introduced in this episode; we have Anzu, a tough, fiery child who isn’t afraid to go against her orders out of a sense of respect and friendship for Hina; Hitomi, Hina’s classmate who was introduced last episode but gets more of a chance to shine here as her supportive friend who gets pulled into her schemes way too easily; and finally Utako, the bartender at Nitta’s favourite bar who seems confident, tough and has a mature outlook on life. I can see why Nitta wants to take her out for dinner so badly, she’s a woman after my own heart!
Of the two stories we were shown, I think the latter one about Nitta going on a rager to prove that he’s still a cool guy who loves to date women was stronger than the first. It went to more ridiculous places (Hitomi doesn’t even need to go to school now, she’s basically a professional bartender), but also showed us how attached Hina has become to Nitta. When he goes out without her she’s understandably lonely, she wants to hang with him even if it means going to hostess clubs every night because she appreciates his company. They clearly spend a lot of time together, judging by how Nitta knew in the first half of the episode that Hina couldn’t have been the one going out and getting into fights because they were playing video games all night. Regardless of how much Nitta wants to refuse that he’s a dad, the proof is in the pudding. Nitta has now gone full dad and he might as well embrace it. He might even be more successful with women if he leans into it!
It’s good to see that the artwork and animation quality is also still up to the first episode’s standards. Although there weren’t as many bursts of super quality animation, the episode still looked great and there were no issues even in more packed scenes. I didn’t see any egregiously off model shots even when characters were far away, which is promising. Hopefully the animators will continue to conserve their energy for more intense episodes so we can get a visual spectacle along the lines of the fight from the first episode when the time is right.
Overall, this episode of Hinamatsuri was an absolute delight. It delivered the same level of comedy as the previous episode, but also added a touch of sentimentality. It’s easy to grow immediately fond of the characters, and they have yet to introduce anybody who I don’t like. By covering multiple smaller stories in one episode it avoids having any one scenario get stale or drag on for too long, although I hope that they start to deliver some more long term plot hooks within the next couple of episodes. I for one can’t wait to see what’s going to happen to this steadily growing family next.